Vaping has become increasingly popular in recent years as an alternative to smoking. While vaping may be perceived as a safer alternative to smoking, there is still a significant amount of research that needs to be conducted to fully understand the health effects of vaping. Vaping during pregnancy is particularly concerning, as it may harm both the mother and the developing baby. In this blog post, we will explore the risks associated with vaping during pregnancy and provide recommendations for women who are currently pregnant and considering vaping.
What is vaping?
Vaping is the act of inhaling aerosolized liquid, commonly known as vapor, that is produced by an electronic device such as an e-cigarette or vape pen. The liquid used in these devices typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. While the long-term health effects of vaping are not fully understood, research has shown that vaping may cause damage to the lungs, heart, and blood vessels.
General risks of vaping
Vaping has been marketed as a safer alternative to smoking, but research has shown that vaping can have negative effects on the health of any individual. The long-term health effects of vaping are still not fully understood, and the safety of vaping has been a topic of debate in the medical community. In this section, we will explore the general risks of vaping on any human.
- Respiratory Health: Vaping has been shown to have negative effects on respiratory health. The inhalation of aerosolized liquid can irritate the airways, leading to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Vaping has also been linked to an increased risk of developing chronic lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The chemicals found in e-cigarette liquids, such as diacetyl, have been linked to a condition known as popcorn lung, a severe respiratory illness.
- Cardiovascular Health: Vaping can also have negative effects on cardiovascular health. Nicotine, a chemical found in e-cigarette liquids, is known to increase heart rate and blood pressure. Long-term exposure to nicotine can lead to an increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
- Brain Development: Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can have negative effects on brain development. Nicotine can interfere with brain development, leading to cognitive and behavioral problems. Vaping during pregnancy may also have negative effects on the developing brain of the fetus.
- Addiction: Nicotine is highly addictive, and vaping can lead to nicotine addiction. Addiction to nicotine can have negative effects on physical and mental health, as well as lead to financial strain due to the cost of e-cigarette liquids and devices.
Risks of vaping during pregnancy:
In addition to the risks already mentioned, nicotine exposure during pregnancy can have a number of negative effects on both the mother and the developing fetus. Vaping during pregnancy may increase the risk of:
- Preterm delivery: Babies born prematurely may experience a range of health problems, including breathing difficulties, developmental delays, and vision and hearing impairments.
- Low birth weight: Babies born with low birth weight are at increased risk of developmental delays, infections, and other health problems.
- Stillbirth: Stillbirth is the loss of a pregnancy after 20 weeks gestation. Vaping during pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of stillbirth.
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): SIDS is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy infant, typically occurring during sleep. Babies born to mothers who smoke or vape during pregnancy are at increased risk of SIDS.
In addition to the risks associated with nicotine exposure, vaping during pregnancy may also expose the baby to other harmful chemicals found in e-cigarette liquids, such as heavy metals and volatile organic compounds.
Recommendations for pregnant women who are considering vaping:
The best way to protect the health of both the mother and the developing child is to quit smoking and vaping altogether. However, if quitting is not possible, there are steps that women who are considering vaping or are currently pregnant and vaping can take to reduce the risks associated with nicotine exposure. These include:
- Talking to your healthcare provider: If you are considering vaping or are currently pregnant and vaping, talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and options for quitting.
- Using FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs): Nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gum, or lozenges may be used to help women quit smoking or vaping. It is important to use FDA-approved NRTs under medical supervision.
- Avoiding secondhand smoke and vaping: Secondhand smoke and vaping may also harm the developing fetus. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke and vaping whenever possible.
- Seeking support: Quitting smoking and vaping can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Seek support from friends, family, or a support group to help you quit.
Vaping during pregnancy can have significant negative effects on both the mother and the baby. While quitting smoking and vaping altogether is the best option, women who are considering vaping or are currently pregnant and vaping can take steps to reduce the risks associated with nicotine exposure. By talking to their healthcare provider, using FDA-approved NRTs, avoiding secondhand smoke and vaping, and seeking support, women can protect the health of both themselves and their babies.
If you don’t feel like you can handle this journey of pregnancy or quitting your smoking or vaping habit on your own, we are here to help. RealOptions Obria Medical Clinics is a fully-licensed community care clinic that offers quality confidential services at our clinics in Oakland, Redwood City, San Jose, and Union City. If you’d like to schedule an appointment for any of our services or to speak with a member of our team, please contact the location closest to you or use our online appointment scheduler here:
400 30th St #401
Oakland, CA 94609
Redwood City Location
801 Brewster Ave Unit 21
Redwood City, CA 94063
San Jose Locations
1671 The Alameda #101
San Jose, CA
12 N White Rd
San Jose, CA
Union City Location
33523 Western Ave.
Union City, CA 94857
Medical information and statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):